Woman enjoys customers and being creative

Published 7:10 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2019

MANCHESTER — Sometimes the secret to finding happiness is finding one’s niche. Debbie Engebretson of Albert Lea found hers at JensPrint in Manchester.

Originally a mechanical draftsman, Engebretson spent 15 years as a catalog illustrator at Streater before she decided it was time for a change. After a year off, her sister convinced her she should be a demonstrator for Stampin Up, a rubber stamp company. She agreed, but on the condition that she could find a part-time job.

Email newsletter signup

“I thought, I’m only going to work six months to pay for months to pay for my starter kit,” Engebretson said. “Well, 23 years later, I’m still here.”

She started working for JenSales part-time tracking its advertising. At the time, JenSales posted ads in over 85 publications. She would track the ads to make sure they ran, they were kept up-to-date and were paid for. She also managed spreadsheets that would track the effectiveness of their ads to optimize where their advertising dollars were spent.

A lot has changed in the two decades since.

“When I first started here 23 years ago, we had one computer and everybody shared that computer,” she said. “You took turns doing it. You had an allotted time and then you grabbed your papers and used the computer during that time.”

Debbie Engebretson works on a custom T-shirt order for a local high school. – Kelly Wassenberg/Albert Lea Tribune

With JenSales’s presence online growing and Paul Jensen’s desire to keep expanding his company, JensPrint was born and Engebretson soon worked her way into the printing business.

“JensPrint came about because we were good at printing, and we were good at a new kind of printing, which was digital, flexible printing,” Jensen said. “Now that’s common these days — it wasn’t 15 years ago.”

Jensen noted that as software has improved, it has made it easier to produce high-quality, flexible printing that allows them to offer customers the same price on items such as invitations or T-shirts, whether they buy 5 or 100.

“It’s the same price,” Jensen said, “Even if you come back later and just need 20 more.”

Engebretson can print invitations, business cards, posters, personalized calendars, T-shirts, bags and a host of other items, and can even design the products if the customer needs her to.

“A lot of times customers will ask to see my samples, and what I do is tell them to go online and find something they like,” she said.

She said this gives her an idea of what styles the customer likes and then she makes an original invitation for them. Through the years she has worked with families with a variety of events — from birth announcements to graduations in some cases.

“I love my customers,” she said. “They’re like my family.”

It’s the connections she creates with customers, as well as the endless options she can provide them with, that makes her enjoy her job so much that it’s difficult for those who know her to imagine her without her trademark smile.

“I enjoy working here because it’s fun,” Engebretson said. “And I work with the best group of people.”